Oman combines breathtaking natural beauty with well preserved culture. It has spectacular mountains, stunning canyons, wild deserts and a beautiful coastline. For first timers to Oman, a circuit from Muscat of the Jebel Akhdar mountains, Wahiba Sands and beautiful coast makes for a perfect 10-day tour. For those returning to the country and those with a little more time the fjord like coastline of the Musandam Peninsula and the southern province of Salalah are great additions to the tour. Oman has a well maintained and expansive road network so our favourite way to visit the country is on a self-drive holiday. Highlights of Oman include:
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – one of the largest mosques in the world and a beautiful example of Islamic architecture.
- The four forts of Nizwa, Bahla (UNESCO-listed), Izki and Rustiq.
- Muscat Souk and the Friday cattle market in Nizwa.
- Hiking the Balcony Walk in the Jebel Akhdar.
- Visiting the Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve.
- Spending a night in a desert camp in Wahiba Sands with a morning walk in the dunes.
- Snorkelling or diving in the Daymanyat Islands.
- The Empty Quarter – the largest sand desert in the world.
- Cruising in a dhow along the coast of the Musandam Peninsula.
Some of the most thrilling walking in the Middle East is available in Oman. Multi-day routes have yet to properly emerge but there are some fabulous day walks in the craggy Hajar mountains, through wadis and along the coast. Our favourite walk in Oman is the Balcony Walk, a trail running from a tiny mountain village along a path on the very edge of the canyon to a now deserted village under the overhang of a cliff face. It is clearly marked and you need a reasonable head for heights but the views are well worth the effort. As are the inquisitive mountain goats you will meet on the trail. Elsewhere on the Saiq Plateau you can walk on winding trails through mountain villages. And if you visit at the right time of year you can walk from village to village through the rose plantations growing the roses for the rosewater used in middle eastern cooking. It is an incongruous sight, delicate English looking roses against a backdrop of craggy mountains and village minarets. And if you choose to spend some time in Wahiba Sands a walk from your camp in the dunes is a must. If you take a guide then you won’t get lost! There are some lovely boutique hotels close to the walking and, whilst it is possible to walk without a guide, if you are happy to drive yourself around and are feeling a little adventurous, an experienced guide will help you make the most out of your walking. One of the hotels on the Saiq Plateau even has a rock climbing wall and via ferrata for you to try.
from £1999 per person
Oman in Style
from £4195 per person
Short break in Muscat
from £1455 per person
You will need to obtain an e-visa before you travel online from the Royal Oman Police.
Ensure your usual vaccinations are up to date and check here for advisory vaccinations.
Women should dress modestly in public areas like shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible. You should not wear swimming attire in public areas, except on tourist beaches or at swimming pools. Women wearing shorts, or tight-fitting clothes, are likely to attract attention.